Jos Ruffell's Wellington

I am one of the co-founders of Garage Project, a brewery tucked away in an old petrol station in Wellington’s Aro Valley. My love for Wellington is based on the incredible restaurants and bars, and easy walking nature of the city! I have two dogs that get me out and about in the hills and bush surrounding the city. After working up a thirst and appetite, there is nothing better than wandering through Wellington and taking your pick of what the city has to offer.

Soft serve from Zany Zeus

149 Randwick Road, Moera, Lower Hutt

The Michelin guide book lists ‘worth a journey’ as a criteria for their top ratings, and under that rating, Zany Zeus is an easy three stars. Known for their cheeses and yoghurts throughout Wellington, the real insider secret is their ice cream and soft serve - only available at their single store in Petone. Scarlett Johansson was a fan of their Chocolate Cake, but the ice cream is where it’s at. Incredibly rich and dense, it’s easy to see why it was awarded best ice cream in New Zealand. Their liquorice flavour is my choice, and we always stop in after a walk in the Remutaka Forest Park.

The front counter at Zany Zeus.

Fresh-as beer from Garage Project Taproom

91 Aro Street, Aro Valley, Wellington

Call me biased, but there is nothing better than enjoying a pint or two in the snug surrounds of our taproom at 91 Aro Street. Beer does not get any fresher than this - located a mere stone's throw away from our original Garage brewery. With 18 beers on tap poured through our ‘flux capacitor’ and at precise temperatures depending on the beer style, it’s guaranteed to be a perfect pour every time. For those looking for a slightly different tipple, there is a selection of our Crushed Natural Wines and ciders to choose from!

A flight of beers.

Steak frites at Ortega Fish Shack

16 Majoribanks Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington

Ortega is an institution in Wellington, tucked away at the foot of Mt Victoria. It’s an eclectic space that is always buzzing, and Davey will have a drink in your hand before you’ve even sat down. The seats at the bar are the best spot to enjoy the restaurant action from, and the menu is simple and sticks to the classics. The steak frites and a glass of chilled red is my go to. 

People  dining inside Ortega Fish Shack.

Taste of Home at the Architecture School

128 Vivian Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Blink and you’ll miss it. A very small, almost hole-in-the wall nook that serves up incredibly fresh, delicious Chinese-style street food. Their noodles are made by hand in house, with the Dan Dan an absolute favourite. We’ll often swing by at lunch time to grab some noodles to go, and then walk across the street to the little park outside the Architecture School, to eat them in the sun.

Close up of noodles on a table.

French Cancan almond croissant

142 Riddiford Street, Newtown, Wellington

For the best almond croissants, danishes and eclairs, look no further than French Cancan. A small shop in Newtown and a great place to visit after exploring the weekend market - and perhaps grabbing a coffee just round the corner at People’s. With supplies in hand, it’s an easy walk up to the Mt Vic green belt to enjoy sweeping views of the city and sweat off those pastries.

Croissants at French Cancan.

Recharge in the Remutaka Forest Park

Remutaka Forest Park, Wellington

A short drive out of the city and you can step into dense native bush that’s teeming with wildlife. It’s a preferred trip of ours, to take the pups for a walk in the forest. There are many tracks of varying lengths that snake alongside rivers, and it’s hard to find a more relaxing and peaceful spot to recharge a little. We generally do a 45 minute loop that crosses a river, and the pups love having a quick splash around to cool down.

Cycling in the Remutaka Forest Park.

While away an afternoon at Slow Boat Records

183 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington

A cultural icon in the heart of the city and must visit for any vinyl fans. Packed with a carefully selected collection, Slow Boat has been a treasure trove for locals and visiting musicians and celebrities alike. As the longest running independent record store in the country, it’s a legendary spot in which to while away an afternoon.

Records on display inside Slow Boat Records.

Foraging at Mt Victoria Town Belt

Taurima Street, Hataitai, Wellington

One of the best aspects of Wellington is how close everything is, including forest and bush walks. Within minutes of the city, you can suddenly feel a million miles away. Being able to wander through the Mt Vic town belt every morning with the pups is very special, and you are only a moment away from the city, too. There are great views at the top of Mt Vic and eventually porcini mushrooms to be foraged, if you know where to look.

A couple walking up Mt Victoria.

A light red from Everyday Wine

177 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Wellington is a city that takes its drinks seriously. Coffee, craft beer and now, natural wine. For the best selection in the city, look no further than Everyday Wine on Cuba Street. There is a huge selection of bottles from around the world, and even local wines available on tap to takeaway. My favourite wines, if you’re lucky enough to find them in stock, are from a French producer - L’Anglore. Their light reds will change everything you thought you knew about wine!

Bottles of wine on shelves at Everyday Wine.

Cocktail and a movie at Embassy Theatre

10 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria, Wellington

It’s a classic. The best theatre in the country, hands down. Located right in the heart of Wellington, the Embassy always makes going to the movies feel a little special. The building is incredible and the seats super comfy, and you can also enjoy cocktails and craft beer while relaxing for a couple hours. We recently saw This Town made by our mate, David White. It was our first time back in the cinema since lockdown, and a great reminder that it’s a local industry hit hard by Covid and an easy one to support.

Inside a movie theatre at Embassy Theatre.